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Friday, 29 February 2008

QuizTime: Indigenous Australian Footballers

A friend has been bugging me to provide a few Indigenous Football questions. So here they are.

1.Who is first Indigenous Aussie to lift a national football championship? (10 marks)

2.In the Matildas Squad in China, Captain of Young Matildas, played with a broken arm, Indigenous keeper who is she? (20 marks)

3.Indigenous Footballer about to play for his club in Korea, China and Vietnam in the next three months? (10 marks)

4.Name of Indigenous Junior Cup tournament played in Sydney each year. (20 marks)

5.First Indigenous Aussie to play for Socceroos at the World Cup? (20 marks)

6.Latest Indigenous player to join an A-League club? (20 marks)

Who is the young Indigenous Aussie who plays in Denmark and will head to Beijing Olympics in August. (20 marks)

Answers below


1.Jade North, Newcastle Jets
2. Lydia Williams
3. Travis Dodd, Adelaide United
4. Harry Williams Cup
5. Harry Williams
6. Taj Minniecon Qld Roar
7. David Williams Brondby, formerly The Roar

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Aussie World Cup to dwarf Rugby World Cup

The Japanese and Korean economy benefitted to the tune of $27 billion by hosting the 2002 World Cup.

The Department of Tourism reported The Sydney Olympics produced $6 billion and The Rugby World Cup held in Australia in 2003 generated a paltry $290 million worth of economic benefit...and we didn't win either!

Now perhaps these figures may be the reason why we are hearing wonderful unity from our friends in AFL, Rugby League and Union administration.

No-one wants to look anti-Australian on this one, but there will be a few little officials from various codes just quietly hoping we don't get it. Bless them.

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Chris Bush on Joey's duty.

Goulburn and ACTAS player Chris Bush has again been selected for the Australia Under 17 side, the Joeys.

The Joey's have been invited to play in the 22nd Lion City Cup which is being hosted by the Singapore Football Association.

Eight countries will be participating in the tournament and Australia have been grouped with Chinese Taipei, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

Chris will fly out with the Joey's to Singapore on Friday 7th March where they will have a two day pre- tournament camp before playing Chinese Taipei in there first
match. They are due back in Australia on the 17th March.

Excellent work Chris.

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

2008 A-League Expansion: Only one team?

Miron Bleiberg, Football Director of Gold Coast Galaxy, was speaking on Total Football tonight.

Two teams, the Galaxy and Townsville Thunder, have another week to meet the FFA's increased (from Season 1) financial requirements. But will they both have the money?


Reading between the lines after listening to Miron and the Total Football team, I reckon we might get one team next year but not two. Which one is more likely?

Gold Coast probably.

They've already offered Wellington's Felipe a contract, and assuming they are accepted, Noel Spencer from the Jets, Andre Gumprecht from the Mariners and maybe even Dwight Yorke, yes Dwight Yorke might be joining the Galaxy.

Anyway don't bank on two teams coming in next year.

The FFA can't afford to have a team fail. And funny how the best business plans look great on paper but maybe not so sharp once the money needs to appear on the table.

More room for Canberra:)

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Grumpy Old Man at the football

And just on that Grand Final, it was so loud it hurt!



I was in the stands at the Sydney Football Stadium an hour before kick-off.

Thought I'd have a chat about football with my mate and to the St.Pauli (Hamburg) fans I sold some tickets to just earlier.

But the PA system was soooo loud

telling us it was only 60 minutes until kick-off and lets all say hello to the Jets fans, and then the Mariners and then more inane noise from Luke FoxSports. He just yelled and yelled for an hour.

Occasionally he'd say, "We'll be back after this break," phew I thought. But we really did go to a break. The PA blasted out TV ads.

And I was unable to talk or hear my new best friends views on football, Australia or anything else.

I was so relieved when the game started.

And as soon as the game ended, the man, Luke VERYLOUDVOICE started again. We had to leave it was so loud.

Football is about having a chat to the people you go to a game with or meet. This was dire. Almost enough to put you off going. FFA, SFS, whoever controls this side of the game, leave it out it was dreadful. It's an introduction from the violent playing fields of Europe where noise is belted out to curb the abusive fans.

Do they do this in AFL, NRL and S14? Surely we don't need it in Australia just yet?

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Any questions for the A-League Refs?

Next week on the Nearpost Radio show we've got an A-League Referee's Matchday Assessor coming in for a chat.

Given the "interest" in ref's this season let me know if you have any questions!

And why Mark Shield missed the penalty is a question. But I managed to think of that one myself:)

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From Champs to Chumps.

Andrew Durante goes to New Zealand!


While the A-League season officially ended for some on the weekend, Wellington Phoenix have been finished for some time.

But don't think they are happy with their records crowd and bottom place in Season 1.

Ahmed Elrich,

gone, Kristian Rees, gone and Brazilian Felipe, gone. All have been released.

But in come Grand Final man of the match Andrew Durante, returning Socceroo Jon McKain and Leo Bertos from the Glory.

They'll miss Felipe. But defence was a huge problem last year. I reckon they've improved their squad with these comings and goings.

They still need a little more in the final third, but things are looking good for Season 2. Pressures on Perth,who came in 7th, and have lost Simon Colosimo, Leo Bertos and may well struggle to replace them. Early days.

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Canberra FC: Stadium nearing completion

Canberra FC start their Federation Cup campaign this weekend against Canberra City at Hawker enclosed on Sat. Mar 1 at 5pm

Their new stadium will be complete for the opening day of the regular season. New ground is expected to hold 2,100.

The Club are aiming to get back into the NSW Premier League or that should be called the Sydney Premier League. But for some reason NSWPL don't want any teams from Canberra.

Why? Because it would strengthen the level of football. Got me beat!

David Milin is back for another season, after taking a years leave. Ivan Pavlak has moved to the AIS. But Canberra FC are still the team to beat in Canberra. Belconnen United may think otherwise.

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Explosion of Junior Academies in Canberra

1,000 touches a day.

Has anyone noticed the explosion of junior academies starting up in Canberra?

Chris Tanzey, and Coerver are a couple of long term Canberra favourites. Now we have EssentialSoccer, Player'sFC, and Football First Australia all up and running.

There may be others.

The demand for quality coaching is clearly on the rise.



Having seen the explosion of academies, training schools, and football clinics in England while basic skills can quickly be improved, producing another George Best, Ronaldhino or even Harry Kewell is a tad harder.

And of course many parents take a different level of interest once the money is exchanged.

You still can't beat the kid who just plays football all day, and nothing else. And outdated view but that's me:)

Those days are of course well behind us, with computers, tv and all the other choice of sports and activities to do, coaching clinics are clearly the way of the future.

Anything that encourages kids to run and keep active in Fat Australia, (fat works better for me than obesity)is surely a good thing. And hey if they produce some quality players along the way even better.

Good luck to all in what is going to be a competitive year for football clinics in Canberra.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Matildas kick-off 2008: New year, new players.

Canberra's Amy Chapman selected to take on New Zealand. Lydia Williams fit to play and Caitlin Munoz and Sally Shipard are all in the squad.

Australia will play three games in five days against New Zealand in Sunshine Coast, entry is free, starting Saturday.

Full squad and press release below


MATILDAS WALTZ IN TO 2008 WITH TRANS-TASMAN SERIES



The Australian women's football team, the Matildas, will make their first appearance on home soil since FIFA Women's World Cup in China last September.
The Matildas will commence preparations for May's AFC Women's Asian Cup with a three-match series of international friendly matches against New Zealand on the Sunshine Coast commencing on Sunday.

The Matildas, who thrilled supporters with their stunning run to a quarter final berth at the FIFA Women's World Cup, will be looking to go one better than their runners-up finish at the 2006 AFC Women's Asian Cup when they tackle Asia's best at the 2008 edition of the tournament.

While injury has depleted Tom Sermanni's squad, many key World Cup squad members are set to take the field including strikers Lisa De Vanna and Sarah Walsh, midfielders Heather Garriock and Collette McCallum, plus inspirational skipper Cheryl Salisbury.

Several members of last year's Young Matildas squad have also earned selection including Adelaide-based striker Victoria Balomenos, Sydney duo Lyndsay Glohe and Renee Rollason, as well as Queensland youngsters Tameka Butt and Elise Kellond-Knight.

"The squad for these matches is quite depleted with a number of World Cup squad players missing for a variety of reasons," said Sermanni.

"The three matches will certainly test our depth, with our preparation for these matches also significantly affected.

"On the positive side this provides an opportunity for some fringe players to show me what they are capable of and press for further selection ahead of the Women's Asian Cup.

"We now have to look to the future, work towards continual incremental improvement and ensure that we do not have a World Cup hangover."

The Matildas squad for the three-match series against New Zealand on the Sunshine Coast is:

Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra)

Defenders – Lyndsay Glohe (Sydney), Karla Reuter (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane)

Midfielders – Tameka Butt (Gold Coast), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle), Renee Rollason (Sydney), Sally Shipard (Brisbane)

Forwards – Victoria Balomenos (Adelaide), Joanne Burgess (Brisbane), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lisa De Vanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Sarah Walsh (Sydney)
(current home city)


Fixtures:
Australia v New Zealand
Saturday 1 March, 4pm

Australia v New Zealand
Monday 3 March, 4pm

Australia v New Zealand
Wednesday 5 March, 4pm

All matches at Stockland Park, Sunshine Coast (320 Nicklin Way, Bokarina)
Entry to the matches is free.


The 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup will be held from May 28 – June 8, 2008, in a venue yet to be decided.

The Matildas moved to an all-time high world ranking of 12 following the FIFA Women's World Cup.

New Zealand, who are currently ranked 23, are preparing for their Oceania Olympic qualifier against Papua New Guinea on March 8.will commence preparations for May's AFC Women's Asian Cup with a three-match series of international friendly matches against New Zealand on the Sunshine Coast commencing on Sunday.

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A-League Awards

Joel Griffith was player of the year and Referee of the year was Mark Shield.

Alex Brosque was second. Honest:)

Danny Vukovic has been sent-off twice so he couldn't win anything. Bruce Djite was young player of the year.

JOHNNY WARREN MEDAL WINNER NAMED

The prestigious Johnny Warren Medal, which is a peer award, has been presented to Newcastle Jets’ striker, Joel Griffiths, at the Hyundai A-League 2008 Awards Lunch held in Sydney today.

Griffiths received an overwhelming 394 votes from his playing peers, 140 votes ahead of his nearest rivals Alex Brosque of Sydney FC (254 votes) and Shane Smeltz from the Wellington Phoenix (157).

The Johnny Warren Medal was Griffiths’ second award of the day having earlier picked up the Reebok Golden Boot Award for the 12 goals he scored during the Hyundai A-League 2007-08 season.

Having claimed their first Hyundai A-League Championship Trophy, the Newcastle Jets also picked up two other awards with Gary Van Egmond named the Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year Award, while his team collected the Hyundai A-League Fair Play Award.

Adelaide United’s Bruce Djite received the Rising Star Award for the most outstanding Under-20 player in the Hyundai A-League, and Melbourne Victory’s Michael Theoklitos took out the inaugural Hyundai A-League Goalkeeper of the year award.

Sydney FC’s Brendon Sanatalab won the FOXTEL Goal of the Season award, as voted online by the fans, for his memorable strike against Adelaide United in round 18 at the Adelaide Oval.

Mark Shield was named the Zurich Referee of the Year for the third time in the past three seasons of the Hyundai A-League.

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Danny Vukovic: We support you evermore.

I received an email from a fan concerned about the punishment given out to Danny Vukovic, the Mariners keeper. The standard of refereeing is also of concern to many.

Mariners fans have started a petition and a facebook page has gained almost 1,000 members in support of reducing Vukovic's punishment.

I feel for the guy, missing the Olympics possibly, but professional players cannot, must not touch the Referee. But the level of support for Vukovic is interesting.

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AIS swamped by classy Canberrans

We might not have an A-League team (yet) or a State League team or even a Men's Representative side, but Canberrans can still play football.

Robbie Cattanach scored three on the opening day of the season for Manly United last weekend.

And the AIS has Sam Munro, Kofi Danning, Dom Giampaolo, Ivan Pavlak and Dane Milovanovic in this years squad. Two games played in the VPL, two games won!

Not to mention Mathew Grbesa in the VPL with the Melbourne Knights Kaz Patafta heading off to Asia with Melbourne Victory, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley currently flying to USA to play Mexico in a friendly for the Olyroos.

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CANBERRA - LET’S PARTY

Okay steady on. It should read Newcastle. Apparently they are having a party, wasting some taxpayers money on a flyover, getting all the kids out of school for the Jets party and all because they won a football match.

Just thought one day we might like a party in Canberra....well wouldn't you?

Jets media release below.



MEDIA RELEASE


MEDIA RELEASE
NEWCASTLE - LET’S PARTY
THE JETS HAVE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor John Tate and Newcastle City Council will join with the Jets to celebrate their inaugural Hyundai A-League Championship win on Thursday 28th February from 3.30pm in front of City Hall. And will it be a celebration!

The RAAF at Williamtown will do a fly over of the celebrations by three FA18’s, the victorious players and coaching staff will be introduced to the waiting crowd, the Hyundai A-League Trophy will be on display and commemorative merchandise will be available.

“This result is so fantastic for Newcastle and the Hunter, the Jets have certainly done us all proud. I encourage everyone to come to Civic Park and let the boys know how much this result means to the City,” said Lord Mayor, Councillor John Tate.

“We want to see as many school children and supporters there as possible to say thank you to the Jets for making us all so proud,” said Councillor Tate.

“It is also great to see the RAAF at Williamtown want to be involved with this celebration and we thank them for volunteering to do the flyover. The team are called the Newcastle Jets as a tribute to the RAAF base at Williamtown.”

A police directed road closure of King Street will be in effect between Darby and Auckland Streets, to ensure public safety.

Due to other commitments following the official celebration, the players will be unable to sign autographs. The team will resume training on March 5, and all sessions will be open to the public and fans are encouraged to come along and get their items signed.

Media only information and key timings:

2pm
Media permitted in to the Civic Reception in the Hunter Room at City Hall for player and official guest interviews.

This will be the ONLY place players will be available for one on one interviews.
Entrance to this area will be via ONE door only – all other entrances in to City Hall will be closed off.
Please enter City Hall via the entrance off Wheeler Place.

Due to tight security - ALL media will need to RSVP their attendance to Eclipse Media & Events and will need to wear their FFA Media Accreditation to ensure they are permitted access into City Hall.
If you do not have this accreditation, please advise us and it will be organised for you.
Limited parking will be available – please advise if this will be required.


3.30pm
Official Celebration on the Steps of Newcastle City Hall
A three metre area in front of the stage has been organised for media as well as a camera and photographer’s platform in front of the Cenotaph in Civic Park (facing City Hall)
Due to security issues no cameras will be permitted on the stage.

3.45pm approx
FA18 Flyer over
THE JETS HAVE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor John Tate and Newcastle City Council will join with the Jets to celebrate their inaugural Hyundai A-League Championship win on Thursday 28th February from 3.30pm in front of City Hall. And will it be a celebration!

The RAAF at Williamtown will do a fly over of the celebrations by three FA18’s, the victorious players and coaching staff will be introduced to the waiting crowd, the Hyundai A-League Trophy will be on display and commemorative merchandise will be available.

“This result is so fantastic for Newcastle and the Hunter, the Jets have certainly done us all proud. I encourage everyone to come to Civic Park and let the boys know how much this result means to the City,” said Lord Mayor, Councillor John Tate.

“We want to see as many school children and supporters there as possible to say thank you to the Jets for making us all so proud,” said Councillor Tate.

“It is also great to see the RAAF at Williamtown want to be involved with this celebration and we thank them for volunteering to do the flyover. The team are called the Newcastle Jets as a tribute to the RAAF base at Williamtown.”

A police directed road closure of King Street will be in effect between Darby and Auckland Streets, to ensure public safety.

Due to other commitments following the official celebration, the players will be unable to sign autographs. The team will resume training on March 5, and all sessions will be open to the public and fans are encouraged to come along and get their items signed.

Media only information and key timings:

2pm
Media permitted in to the Civic Reception in the Hunter Room at City Hall for player and official guest interviews.

This will be the ONLY place players will be available for one on one interviews.
Entrance to this area will be via ONE door only – all other entrances in to City Hall will be closed off.
Please enter City Hall via the entrance off Wheeler Place.

Due to tight security - ALL media will need to RSVP their attendance to Eclipse Media & Events and will need to wear their FFA Media Accreditation to ensure they are permitted access into City Hall.
If you do not have this accreditation, please advise us and it will be organised for you.
Limited parking will be available – please advise if this will be required.


3.30pm
Official Celebration on the Steps of Newcastle City Hall
A three metre area in front of the stage has been organised for media as well as a camera and photographer’s platform in front of the Cenotaph in Civic Park (facing City Hall)
Due to security issues no cameras will be permitted on the stage.

3.45pm approx
FA18 Flyer over

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Nearpost Radio Latest Podcast

On the Nearpost this week

Alex talks about our World Cup bid.
Matildas star Emma Wirkus, keeper and Corporate Lawyer..and she needs a job!
All the Grand Final wrap
AIS Graduate Dane Milovanovic chats to us about his coming hopes for the season.

In the local half hour.
Capital Football CEO Heather Reid on Canberra's World Cup bid

Apologies for the shortened Capital Football half hour. Technical probs like you wouldn't believe.

Download:


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Monday, 25 February 2008

Danny Vukovic: Banned until Nov 24th


And wait there's more. He could miss National team duty.

Well what sort of a ban allows him to miss A-League games but not representative games. Someone is having a larf.

More tosh from me and FFA statement below.


I've no time for violence. Not in the game not anywhere. I've no time for hitting referees even touching them. And that is all Vukovic did. It was almost a high five.

But at the game, I had a good view, it could have sparked a riot. It was that tense. One bottle came on. In Scotland I've seen fans pour over the barricades for less.

You can't do it Danny. Not now not ever. But I feel for the young man. He should miss the Olympics the ban should cover all football across the World.

But it seems so harsh, for a glorified high five. Maybe in the heat of battle Mark Shields could have booked him and be done with it. But it was so tense in the stadium at the point, he had to go.

But a ban is a ban is a ban.

And sport in Australia needs a bit of discipline in all codes, at all levels of the game.

So despite my compassion towards the young excellent keeper. If given a ban, as he has, he should miss all football in that period including the Olympic games.

OUTCOME OF INDEPENDENT MATCH REVIEW PANEL

Football Federation Australia (FFA) tonight announced the decision of the independent Match Review Panel arising from the red card (send off) offence of Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners) at the Hyundai A-League 2008 Grand Final on Sunday.

The Match Review Panel for the Hyundai A-League has suspended Vukovic for 15 months, of which nine months will be served with the remaining six months suspended on a probationary basis for 12 months.

In effect, this means that Vukovic will not be eligible to play in the Hyundai A-League competition again until 24 November 2008. If Vukovic re-offends in the 12 month period after 24 November 2008, he will be required to serve the remaining six months of his 15 month suspension (in addition to any new sanction).

If he chooses to appeal the decision, Vukovic has up to two avenues of appeal under FFA procedures.

Vukovic has seven days in which to lodge an appeal.

FFA is considering the extension of the sanction beyond the Hyundai A-League, including to national team duty.

FFA has also cited Sasho Petrovski (Central Coast Mariners) for an alleged infringement of the laws of the game concerning the use of an abusive gesture against a match official.

The matter is automatically referred to the Disciplinary Committee for hearing.

In addition, FFA is writing to the Central Coast Mariners asking them to show cause why the Club should not also be sanctioned under the FFA National Disciplinary Regulations for team misconduct.

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Nearpost Tuesday: Canberra FC in focus

On the Nearpost we review the A-League Grand Final, Arif talks football, Michella tells us what it's like to be a Jets fan, we get a fans view of the World Cup and interview Matildas star Emma Wirkus.

In the local section we focus on Canberra FC. Jure Polegubic talks about his football passion. We interview Canberran and AIS defensive midfielder Dane Milovanovic. Plus Federation Cup talk, Summer Sixes, quiz questions and more.

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Grand Final: Germans think it's Soccer:).


Well 37,000 turned up in Sydney to watch the Grand Final, including me.

I sold my tickets, I had two extra, to to German fans. $65 each bargained down to $60for the pair. That was the demand for tickets on the day.

After about 70 minutes of fast, misplaced passes with some moments of joy one German said to me, "Now I know why you call it soccer." Mate of Fozzie's no doubt!

Grand Final report:

The Match
It was tense until the end. Like most finals perhaps it didn't live up to its billing in terms of quality but Mark Bridge's superb finish won the game.

Crowd
Once again I loved, absolutely loved, being amongst 37,000 football fans in Australia. For me its still a novelty. The colours worn by both sets of families, I mean fans, showed this support is something bigger than a passing fad.

Families
Since when did Families go to football? Never saw so many blonde haired families, mum, dad and the two wee kids at Celtic Rangers games. The Mariners is family heaven. With the Jets a close second. Picnics under the tree outside the ground, it was a very peaceful, non-agressive crowd. Wonderful.

Fans
Don't get me wrong the Jets fans were wonderful. Passionate, had great rhythm and sound. A great sight. Perhaps the history of the town giving them the harden edge in terms of support. They sang and danced with the gusto of any football crowd. Who says Aussies don't sing?

A moment to savour
Sitting high in the stand surrounded by Mariners fans, when The Jets scored the whole stand jumped to life. Jets fans were everywhere, and the wall of noise and passion surprised me. It was a great moment in sport. You had to be there.

Sydney
Still can't get my head round the crowd. I reckon 18,000 from Newcastle, 15,000 from the Coast and maybe 3,000 absolutely tops of neutrals.

Who would have thought a city of 4 million people couldn't attract more than 2 or 3,000 neutral football fans to a Grand Final. The move to SFS was a great success, but what if it had been The Mariners v Queensland Roar? A successful day, but it didn't sell-out.

We're not as big as we think we are?

Danny Vukovic

A knob! Great keeper but a knob. Striking out at the Ref, and The Mariners lost the plot in the last few minutes. It seemed silly. The players reaction definitely affected the crowd. It was a flashpoint for the crowd. You could sense it. One bottle went on. I've seen worse.

Aussie Whiner
John Aloisi played well but nearly drowned out the crowd with his whining.

Coach of the day

Gary Van Egmond won it hands down for me. He changed his pattern for the game. And The Mariners had little threat in the first half, seemed almost reluctant to get forward.

Players
Jin Hyung Song looked good at times. But he kept James Holland out of the final. Is this good for Australia's youth? And his defence is embarassing.

Mark Bridge. A goal to savour

Greg Owens Grand Final moment

He gets into all the big ones, last year for Adelaide this time he was right midfield for the Mariners, but never got passed half way in the first half. Not fit? But it severely limited the Mariners tactics and style.



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Sunday, 24 February 2008

Canberra: World Cup to assist A-League bid?


So it's official Australia will bid for the World Cup in 2018....and it should greatly assist the Canberra A-League bid in coming years.


The decision will be made in October 2011. The benefits you can find elsewhere, but for Canberra and football fans in this region it could just be our saving grace.

There will be talk in political, business and social circles for at least three years about the World Cup, football, and the benefits and impacts of a Canberra bid.

And surely this would hugely assist this city to support an A-League team in the not too distant future.

By 2011, should we lose the World Cup bid the Canberra A-League side could well be on the way if not already admitted.

And don't forget Australia is expected to get the 2015 Asia Cup.

The future of the game in Canberra could start to look very rosy. An A-League side, a National Women's league side, and a Youth side, with one or two State League teams as well. And a Futsal side in the Asian Champions League.

That will be our future. It's just a question of time.

The World Cup bid could be Canberra's A-League saviour over the next three years.

How old will your son be in 2018? Imagine playing in the 2018 World Cup in Australia:)

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Saturday, 23 February 2008

Grand Final Weekend: Mariners to win 2-0

Many Canberrans are heading up to the A-League Grand Final tomorrow. Most are neutral but those that are barracking for a side are leaning towards the Mariners.


Games in Canberra between Belconnen/Sydney FC v Central Coast has done the trick.

Plus Capital Footballs link with the Mariners has swayed others.

And certainly the response of Lozza McKinna and his players when training and playing in Canberra has impressed the locals.

But who will win?

It will be close, at least that is what we neutrals want.

We don't want 3-0 v 10 men at half-time like last year in Melbourne. Nor do we want penalties.

The Mariners were unlucky to lose the first of the semi's 2-0 to the Jets recently and comprehensively thumped them 3-0 in the second semi.

Mariners to win 2-0. Oh and no tears after the game from either sets of players please. It's hardly the World Cup Final is it!

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Friday, 22 February 2008

Canberra's Nikolai Topor-Stanley is Glorys Player of the Year.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley the Canberran on the fringe of the Socceroos squad, and expected to go to the Beijing Olympics later this year as a key member of the Olyroos side, has taken out all three awards at Perth Glory's end of season presentation night

TOP OF THE CLASS

Outstanding young Perth Glory defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has capped off a wonderful season by claiming the 2007/08 ‘Most Glorious Player’ Award, along with a host of other accolades, at the club’s presentation evening on Friday.

The event belonged to Topor-Stanley as he scooped the pool with three awards in his debut season with Perth, adding the ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ and ‘Young Player of the Year’ to his Most Glorious Player award.

“It has been an amazing night, I’m really blown away to be honest,” Topor-Stanley said.

“I have been away with the national team for a few weeks and just thought I’d come back and have good night with the boys, I definitely wasn’t expecting any of this.

“We have a great bunch of guys at the club and as a team we’re all committed to improving and stepping up our performances for the supporters next season,” said Topor-Stanley.

An enthralling vote count left a sold out crowd of more than 400 at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on the edge of their seats as the charismatic 22 year old made a last gasp leap to overtake fellow defender Jamie Coyne with a best on ground performance in the final round.

Coyne topped the leaderboard from round one and looked most likely to claim the club’s top honour as he held a seven point buffer with just three rounds remaining. However Topor-Stanley registered votes in each of the remaining rounds to join club luminaries Gareth Naven, Scott Miller and Bobby Despotovski on the coveted trophy.

Coach Dave Mitchell paid tribute to the endurance of the young star as Topor-Stanley combined his duties for the Glory with a key role in the Olyroos campaign.

“Not only did Nikolai perform well for us he was also playing in the pressure environment of Olympic qualification which just shows what a terrific player he has been this season,” Mitchell said.

“He came over this season and fitted in straight away with the boys. He works hard, has great skills, is a gifted athlete and made the most of his opportunities. I certainly think he has a very, very bright future in front of him,” Mitchell added.

The top three places in the MGP count went to defenders. Coyne was runner-up while Dino Djulbic attracted plenty of votes in his first Hyundai A-League season. The big bodied stopper took home the ‘Best Clubman’ trophy in recognition of his commitment both on and off the pitch.

“Dino stepped up and did very well after being thrust into the spotlight and is a great person to have around the club,” Mitchell said.

“Jamie was ultra consistent and led by example, he took the captain’s arm band on a number of occasions and I’m delighted that he has committed to the club for another two seasons,” Mitchell said.

Jamie Harnwell again proved his popularity with the fans by backing up his 2006/07 ‘Supporters Player of the Year’ win with another this season. His performances on the pitch also drawing plenty of praise with consecutive Golden Boot awards a worthy reward for his effort.

Speedy forward Nikita Rukavytsya was the night’s final award recipient when he was named the Perth Glory ‘Volunteers Player of the Year’, presented by the club’s dedicated group of helpers.

2007/08 Perth Glory ‘Most Glorious Player’ Award Presentation Evening Results

2007/08 Award Winners
Award Player
Most Glorious Player Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Players’ Player of the Year Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Young Player of the Year Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Best Clubman Dino Djulbic
Golden Boot Jamie Harnwell
Supporters Players of the Year Jamie Harnwell
Volunteers Player of the Year Nikita Rukavytsya


2007/08 Perth Glory ‘Most Glorious Player’ Leaderboard (top 10)
PlayerVotes
Nikolai Topor-Stanley21
Jamie Coyne20
Dino Djulbic14
Jamie Harnwell12
Jimmy Downey9
Billy Celeski9
Nikita Rukavytsya8
Simon Colosimo7
Leo Bertos5
Mitchell Prentice4
Jordan Simpson4


Perth Glory Most Glorious Player Award Recipients
Season
2007/08 Hyundai A-League Nikolai Topor-Stanley
2006/07 Hyundai A-League Simon Colosimo & David Tarka
2005/06 Hyundai A-League Bobby Despotovski
2003/04 NSL Bobby Despotovski
2002/03 NSL Scott Miller
2001/02 NSL Bobby Despotovski
2000/01 NSL Bobby Despotovski
1999/00 NSL Gareth Naven
1998/99 NSL Danny Hay & Scott Miller
1997/98 NSL Danny Hay
1996/97 NSL Gavin Wilkinson

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A-League expansion: More opportunities for Canberrans?

A-League Expansion: More opportunities for Canberra’s players?

With two new A-League teams (Townsville and Gold Coast) and eight new Youth teams expected in the A-League in 2008, the next generation of Canberra’s professional players shouldn’t have to travel so far, so early in life.




Canberra has a rich history of football. The Federation Cup is in its 45th season. In both men and women’s codes we have had many national representatives. Steve Hogg, Walter Valeri, George Kulscar, Sebastian Giampaolo are just a few who have worn the Socceroos Green and Gold.

And with former Tuggeranong United junior Nikolai Topor-Stanley expected to join his junior club mate Carl Valeri in a Socceroos side in the coming years, Canberra’s reputation for producing top class footballers remains in tact.

Local football trailblazers Ned Zelic, Joe Simunic and Carl Valeri are a few Canberrans who have become professionals the hard way. They left their Canberra suburbs as young men and headed overseas to learn the game. Valeri was just 17 when he moved to Italian giants Inter Milan.

But where should the next aspiring professional start?

It’s well known across Australia that Aussie players are late developers. And heading overseas at a young age is a high risk strategy. Living in a foreign country, competing against local and foreign players desperate to make the grade is no easy route to professional football. Canberra’s Shaun Ontong despite captaining Australia at Under 20 level is testamount to that.

And over 80% of Aussies who head overseas remain at the same level of club they start with.

Socceroo Michael Thwaites has recently moved from Poland to Norway. Second or even third class European leagues. Tim Cahill and Lucas Neill are two, of a small group, who have been able to move up the grade, after starting life in England’s lower leagues with English club sides Millwall and Queens Park Rangers.

Currently Canberra has no A-League side therefore we will have no National Youth team. Not yet. We have no New South Wales Premier League side. Not yet.
So where can our young aspiring footballers and internationals go to pursue their careers?

Belconnen United’s Ben Cheney and Paul Connell headed to Scotland recently. Ivan Pavlak and Stephen Lustica trialled in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb, Dom Giampaolo had a taste of things with Fulham last year. These are just a few of a growing list who are heading overseas to test themselves.

Others such as former Belconnen Blue Devils star Robbie Cattanach is with Manly United in the New South Wales State League, just as Nikolai Topor-Stanley was before Sydney FC signed him up. Kaz Patafta signed by Benfica is currently with Melbourne Victory, AIS trained Adam Casey is with Sydney FC. Former Canberra FC Matthew Grbesa is with Melbourne Knights in the Victorian Premier League.

With A-League expansion, and the youth league expected to start this year, the number of professional football contracts on offer in Australia has never been so high. And this should only increase as Melbourne, Canberra or Sydney is expected to provide further A-League sides in coming years.

Central Coast Mariners Coach Lawrie McKinna spoke recently of how a 20 or 21 year old playing Canberra Premier League could still make the A-League.

This years Grand Finalists the Mariners have locals Nigel Boogaard, Bradley Porter, Matt Simon and Matthew Trott in their squad. All played for local State league side Central Coast Lightning in recent years.

And presumably a large number of local Coast boys will fill the ranks of a Youth team.

Capital Football’s links with the Central Coast Mariners will provide opportunities for many local boys. But with so many youth spots up for grabs across the country, Canberrans can perhaps look to other clubs for opportunities as well.

There is no easy path into professional football. There never has been.

But for Canberra’s footballers while we may not have an A-League, Youth or State League team yet, the opportunity to earn a professional football contract in Australia has never been so good.

Canberra’s players may still have to travel but maybe this time it won’t be so far so young.


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Thursday, 21 February 2008

Spare a thought for Oscar from Adelaide



Melbourne 6 Adelaide 0

Remember the 2007 Grand Final? Of course you do.

I met Oscar,

chief organising fan of Adelaide United last season. 8,000 United fans had headed to Melbourne, most on Coaches.

Oscar missed his Coach. He was waiting, waiting for the Champions T-Shirts to be printed. So when the t-shirts came through late before the game, he dashed for a plane. The t-shirts were to be distributed free if United won with the words Adelaide United 2007 Champions emblazoned across the front.

In the Melbourne bus station. It was dark, cold and Monday morning. The game a distant but painful, painful memory.

Oscar was drinking coffee, alone. You could tell his team had lost.

"What am I going to do with the shirts?" said Oscar.

"How many have you got?"

He looked me in the eye.

"4,000."

Good luck to the Mariners and Jets in the big game on Sunday, and yes I'll be there. On the bandwagon. Two out of three Grand Finals for me, how about you?


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55 Coaches heading for Grand Final



Grand Final on Sunday. The third A-League final and the first one played outside the Champions city.

Everyone is thinking about crowd figures.

Well 55 Coaches are heading South from Newcastle alone, for the final on Sunday...........let's hope a few of their players show up as well...bum bum!

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Labor Senator Kate Lundy signs up!


Well done ACT Senator Kate Lundy.

Word in the fun packed Canberra suburbs is Kate has registered to play football this season.

Which team will she'll star for? We don't know but I'm expecting a left midfielder, technically strong, energy to burn, a good eye for the goal, and an ability to read most situations. And always willing to say sorry after fouling, before fouling and even during fouling..and that's a good thing.

And Kate if you can just assist the World Cup bid, Canberra A-League side, Womens National League side in your half-time break, we'll let you sign up again next year, oh and we'll vote for you as well.

Well what did you think Kate would play, Rugby League? You're dreaming:)

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Lydia Williams and Alex Butt take a break

 


Matildas keeper Lydia Williams is back. The former Tuggeranong United junior has recovered from her wrist operation and is back in full training.

Alex Butt? He's very busy too. Alex is Capital Football Coaching Development Officer, Nearpost radio host and Matildas and Joey's Coaching Assistant. Tough gig Alex!

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Grand Final Tickets: 2 available $65

I have two spare Grand Final tickets, $65 category B. Email me if interested. flanaganDOTeamonnATgmailDoTcom.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

I got to boo Peter FitzSimons



I got to boo Former Wallaby, and Australia's most ardent anti-football journo Peter FitzSimons on the Nearpost show last night. And it felt good, very good!

Peter was great, he acknowledged his past, thought the one-eyed football (soccer as he likes to say) fans were too precious and said he'd continue bagging the game in his weekly column.

For all the fans of football, I gave him a big beautiful on air boo. Marvellous

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Craig Foster: "I like to see the best football team win all the time."


SBS Football Analyst and Former Socceroo Craig Foster was a guest on the Nearpost this week. Fozzie, as he’s known to many, gave us his views of a range of topics.

On the A-League Grand Final between Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.

“I’m hoping for a good game of football, crowds are up, exceptional atmospheres, and
I hope we get another record crowd at the SFS (Sydney Football Stadium). From the FFA point of view it vindicates their decision to hold the Grand Final in Sydney I think it is the right one.
On the teams:

“(Sasho) Petrovski and (John) Aloisi will be key for the Mariners; Mile Jedinak has been good in midfield. Most of the rest are role players, good players but hard workers. The team is based on a hard working team rather than any real class football in my view.”

On the best A-League style:

“The Jets and the (Queensland) Roar have been the best football teams, by some measure. It’s good for the game that one of the best passing teams is in the Grand Final. I wouldn’t have liked the Mariners v Sydney FC or Glory final. I like to see the best football team win all the time. It’s a lesson Australian football need to learn.

On SBS coverage of A-League:

“SBS has promoted the game for thirty years. The game has now taken hold. We need to discuss the game, where it’s at and where it’s going. I don’t believe that is damaging to the game, in fact I believe the opposite. I believe strongly in debate. Good football cultures discuss the game.”

Is A-League football style limited by the Salary Cap?

“No, that’s ridiculous. If the Roar played good football for most of the last three years were they restricted by a Salary Cap?

They’ve all got the same money the same number of players. Why can Victory play football but others can’t? The Jets played good football, Glory were rubbish. It’s about buying players to play the style of football you want to play.

Lawrie McKinna has his team play a style of football he wants. He god rid of Noel Spencer presumably because he didn’t fit the style.

Look at John Kosmina for instance. He had (Steve) Corica and Juninho available to play together. He said Juninho can’t play with Corica, he doesn’t have a defensive bone in his body. That is a philosophy of a Coach.

Scottish fans say you can’t play good attacking football you’ll get beat. That’s why they don’t qualify for tournaments. The best nations actually do it. If you play a certain style of football, you’ll produce a certain type of footballer. This is the discussion Australia needs to have.

Frank Farina v Gus Hiddink:

“The Socceroos under Frank Farina, Frank was saying and he was still a young Coach at the Confederations Cup, he was saying this is the best we can do, these players are only as good as what they are doing now.

“He basically believed we couldn’t play any better than that, if we played attacking football we’d get destroyed. Hiddink came in and what was the change in three months with the same players? Why? Because the Dutch philosophy their vision of the game says we are going to keep the ball. As soon as you launch it down the other end you don’t play, that’s what Coaches in the A-League should be doing in my view.”

And finally; Why are you reading the Sports news on SBS World News?

“It’s something different, a challenge. I’m quite enjoying it. You might have noticed there’s a bit more football coverage, by the end it will be all football.

I saw it as an opportunity for football to be pushed in a Free-To-Air channel.”

You can hear the full Craig Foster interview on this weeks Nearpost podcast available at www.nearpost.blogspot.com


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Nearpost Radio Show

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Part One:

How successful is the A-League.
Mr Anti-Football Peter FitzSimons Fomer Wallaby and SMH Columnist thinks football is probably here to stay. Peter talks about how he was booed in Germany when he was on the bandwagon, I got to boo him on air too. Loved it:)
Matildas Star Lisa De Vanna
A-League Grand Final

Part Two
Craig Foster talks football tactics, Coaches and his vision for the future. He also gives me a fair going over on my thoughts/views on football. Mind you it wasn't just me. Kossie, The Mariners, Scottish fans, and Coaches also copped a bit of flack. Can't disagree with Craig's passion or vision for the game. He wants us to win the World Cup.
Arif Hossein and Michella Bertrand discuss Fozzie's comments
Geordie John from Belnorth is going for the Jets in The Grand Final
Capital Football news

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Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Footballers not smart? Think again

Anyone need a Corporate Lawyer, well travelled, smart, articulate and she represents her country.

 


Emma Wirkus Matildas and South Australian keeper was on light duties at the Matildas camp this weekend. Twenty minutes bike and lots of pool work was morning training for Emma.

Emma specialises in Corporate Law and has found it difficult to match her Matildas commitments with the employment needs of the rather conservative Legal world...my words not hers.
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AFL Collingwood v Scott McDonalds Glasgow Celtic

Size isn't everything but.....


Having sat next to a Collingwood fan in the teaching staffrooms of Canberra, for many years.......

I had to listen to how great Collingwood was, how Australian his team was, and how much better AFL was than football, I hereby announce the turnover of the clubs.

Collingwood recorded a $2 million profit from $44 million turnover in 2006. The biggest AFL Club in Australia that's what my good friend used to tell me...everyday!

While Aussie Scot's Glasgow Celtic with turnover around $200 million are in the top 20 of World Football.


They are the only club outside Europe's established big five leagues - Spain, Italy, England, Germany and France - to feature in the top 20.

Rangers featured in last year's table but drop out in the latest standings.
blockquote>

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Sarah Walsh smacking it for Australia

 


Sarah Walsh is heading over to California in June to play football. But for now she's training Matildas style, studying marketing and looking forward to the Asia Cup.
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Monday, 18 February 2008

Fozzie on the Nearpost


On Nearpost radio Tuesday and on the pod and the blog tomorrow SBS expert Craig Foster discusses the Salary Cap, Celtic FC, Scottish Football and Coaches, John Kosmina, Frank Farina, Gus Hiddink, Why Perth Glory are Rubbish, Why the Mariners are not the best side to watch...

and you'll be glad to know he put me, my team Celtic, Scottish football in our place, but I loved the chat, and Craig's passion for the game.

And isn't it great that we can now debate, argue, disagree and laugh at our own (well mine anyway) vision of the game.

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Novacastrians United


"We're all Novacastrians. Go the Jets."


I'm sitting at my computer, Monday morning 10am. Quiet suburban Canberra street, Gum trees, the odd maggie flies by. Suddenly a car screeches into next doors driveway, flag out the window. A black and white flag.

Out jumps John, Geordie John.

Wearing his beloved Newcastle United shirt. Explains the flag. They either won, or sacked another manager, I figured.

I run out to hear his tale of joy.

"What's this all about, the flag and the shirt, did Newcastle win?"

"No they didn't play."
"Well why the gear."
"For Newcastle the A-League, the Jets man."

"Do you think Canberrans have a clue at the link between black and white Newcastle English colours and the Jets getting to the final?"

"No probably not, but I do."

"Will all Newcastle United fans in England be supporting the Jets?"

"Of course, it's the name, we're Newcastle. Every Newcastle fan in England will watch the game, or look for the score. Of course."

Football passion in the Canberra Suburbs!

You can hear Geordie John on the Nearpost Tuesday and on the pod on this blog on Wednesday.


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Fozzie, Peter FitzSimons go Nearpost this week

Nearpost talks Grand Final this week.

We've interviews with SBS Craig Foster, Former Wallaby SMH's football's biggest bagger and bandwagoner Peter FitzSimons, Matildas Star Lisa De Vanna, Geordie John from BelNorth, Host and Jets fan Michella Bertrand, and our studio expert Arif Hossein.

Tuesday 6.30pm 98.3FM and available on community radios across Australia and on the pod on this blog Wednesday.

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Sunday, 17 February 2008

Jets fly to Asia and the Grand Final

Newcastle 3 Queensland Roar 2 (AET)

"Hello to everyone in Queensland," says Newcastle Jets winning striker Joel Griffith on Fox Sports after the game.

Quote of the year? Or has he family up there, but seemed a great wind-up at the time.


Bruise Brothers Sach Ognenovski and Craig Moore, so the banner said, and weren't they. Clearly out to intimidate. Joel Griffith got it, Adam Griffith got it, Moore gave it brutally to Song Jin Hyung and Mark Bridge was one too many. Crude and rude stuff. Moore sent-of in extra-time.

PenaltiesThe game had three with the Jets to make it 2-1 a real dodgy call. No penalty when the Korean Song went to ground.

Crowd 17,000 pre-sold tickets, major semi and only 16,000 turned up. They sang and went wild...but maybe football has a way to go just yet, either that or a late kick-off on a Sunday is a bad time, or there was cloud in the distance, or Novacastrians aren't quite so mad on football. We'll see next week.

Coach Celebration Frank Farina really gave it some hand shaking arm extension tension after Reinaldo equalised from the spot in the LAST minute of normal time.

Best Brazilian Miss Denni tried hard late on, but no-one and I mean no-one can beat Marcinho, the man with the most shots and least goals in the league. He missed from two yards. Terrific Brazilian touch.

Commentator Classics Mike and Andy niggle away at each other, contradicting each other as they go. Seems tense, seems like there is an edge, a couple of big ego's in the very small commentary box?

Players The big duffers up the back for the Roar, Michael Zullo, James Holland Mark Bridge all played important parts. Tarik Elrich was better tonight and scored a cracker to win the game. Ante Covic, Socceroo keeper give me a break.

Substitution Troy Hearfield on and then off. On entering the field big Ogmonster gave him a Brisbane hello with his elbow....I kid you not!

Best Ref on the nightPeter Green, the only one we've got, but some strange calls and can we just book the guy that kicks from behind, tackles from behind and thumps in the face, and do it early.

Thoughts Not much between these two sides, the Roar started well, very well but missed a number of chances and it came home to hurt them.

The Jets worked hard played some great passing at times and deserved to win...who knows but with a dubious, very dubious second penalty in their favour in extra-time that really was the difference.

Diasppointing that this passionate affair was ruined by the Ref and the Big two at the back for the Roar. Craig Moore let himself and his reputation down again tonight, as he did in his first game for the Roar.

For the neutral it leaves a taste.



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Saturday, 16 February 2008

Why I want Newcastle Jets to win..

bandwagon


Because I have a ticket for the Grand Final. Can't wait..even before the Semi.
And I reckon the atmosphere will be that bit more special for a Jets/Mariners final.

It will be close but my head says the Roar by one but my heart wants the Jets!

Don't miss it today, this will be the most passionate emotional semi-final we've had.

Adelaide/Mariners didn't fill the stadium on Season 1, last year Kossie set the place alive after penalties Adelaide/Newcastle, but again there were big gaps on the terraces.

Novacastrians are a passionate lot, and they love their football, their town. Either way it will be an emotional roller coaster.

Full house, Asia and a Grand Final on the line. Joel Griffiths, Mark Bridge and James Holland, Robbie Kruse, Reinaldo and Craig Moore. And don't forget Danny Tiatto:)

SBS can whinge about the quality, me I'm in football heaven.

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Jo Peters: Newcastle Jets can do it.

 


"Go the Jets," says Matildas star Jo Peters. "We'll be in the Grand Final for sure."

Speaking from the Matildas training camp in Canberra Peters is looking forward to another year with Matildas.

"I'm one of the more experienced players, taking a year at a time. I'd love to go to another World Cup but for now I'm just thinking about this year.

"The World Cup was great but frustrating. I wanted to go into it really fit, but got injured just before the tournament which meant I had to manage it all through the tournament. That was difficult."

Matildas head to Brisbane for three games against New Zealand in March, 1,3 and 5th
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And they're off....Who? The Matildas

The Matildas are on the move.

Football in Australia, women's football, doesn't have enough depth or rewards to keep the main players so they're off for better experience, to test themselves.

It's not big money, no Agents involved, so don't be thinking it's all roses, but off they are.

Lisa De Vanna is off to Sweden, Kate Gill is just trying to match her degree in Psychology to a Uni/country where she can study and play football.

Caitlin Munoz and Collette McCallum are off to join the Pali Blues in Los Angelos, with team-mate Sarah Walsh joining them after the Asia Cup.

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Help.....football in Canberra needs help.

Football in Canberra is booming. Registrations for the new season are expected to top 12,000 juniors for the first time.

But the Clubs need volunteers, desperately. Coaches, Committee members and all-round good guys and gals.

If your child is playing, give a little more and get involved in your club. You get to be part of a community, instant friendships, and you're helping your child and others have a great time.

Don't wait to be asked.

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Friday, 15 February 2008

Canberra to host AIS v VPL games this year

The Australian Institute of Sport Men's football side will play up to nine Victorian Premier League games in Canberra over the coming season.

Canberran Dane Milovanovic is in the squad that starts it's first VPL match of the season on Monday away to Whittlesea.

All home games will be played at the AIS where you can (hopefully) see the next Mark Viduka, Bruce Djite or Carl Valeri.

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Mariners fans are everywhere!

 


Nicole and Ashleigh Sykes (both 16) are from Dubbo. As I was walking through the Australian Institute of Sport Swimming Pool car park this morning I spotted the Mariners t-shirt.

In Canberra, worn by a young girl. So I asked if I could take a photo for my blog and get a prediction.

They were hesitant, but Dad said "we've a bit of time, we're on our way to the Matildas camp!"


Nicole and Ashleigh were playing for NSW Country recently and Tom Sermanni invited them to join the Camp.

"They are all there, Lisa De Vanna, Sally Shipard, Melissa Barbiera, Jo Peters, how do you feel?"

"Excited, but nervous," said Ashleigh. "We don't really know what to expect."

And for the record, Ashleigh and Nicole are convinced the Mariners will win..whoever they play.


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SBS....about to embrace the A-League...finally!

SBS launch their new website on Sunday promising to focus more on the Australian game.

Socceroos, Olyroos and A-League, they say.

Well Les Murray and co your A-League coverage has been poor, inconsistent and highly critical. Don't believe me. Read EVERY fan forum in the country. SBS have behaved like a little fella having a tantrum after he has lost his ball.

Come back to the fold. Embrace the domestic game. Make yourself relevant again. We still love you!

SBS

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Thursday, 14 February 2008

New Zealand leave Matildas gutted.


Matildas pine for Oceania?


Speaking from the Matildas training camp in Canberra today, Coach Tom Sermanni says, "We're gutted. I've just read..."

for the rest of comments and Matildas squad...

the Press Release from OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) and New Zealand have to play one game against Papua New Guinea to qualify for the Olympics. It was going to be two, home and away but now it's one!"

"When you think of all the games we had to play, and we missed out on qualification."

Joining Asia has many benefits but this year the Matildas will be struggling to find them as the Kiwi's fly off to Beijing and join the Olympic parade.

The Matilda's are in Camp at the AIS in Canberra. Training starts 4pm today Thursday and there will be morning and afternoon session everyday with players leaving Sunday afternoon.

"Everybody's welcome to come and watch the training, of course. Players will sign autographs at the end of the sessions We sometime change times of sessions but anyone is welcome to come and watch," said Sermanni.

"We're playing three games against New Zealand in Brisbane before they fly out for their Olympic qualifier. The games are on March 1, 3 and 5th."

ALAGICH Dianne
2 BALOMENOS Victoria
3 BARBIERI Melissa
4 BEAUMONT Ellen
5 BURGESS Joanne
6 CHAPMAN Amy
7 COLTHORP Lauren
8 DE VANNA Lisa
9 DUMONT Casey
10 GARRIOCK Heather
11 GILL Kathryn
12 HARTLEY Lisa
13 KELLOND-KNIGHT Elise
14 McCALLUM Collette
15 MUNOZ Caitlin
16 NEILSON Amber
17 PETERS Joanne
18 POLKIINGHORNE Clare
19 REUTER Karla
20 SALISBURY Cheryl
21 SHIPARD Sally
22 SLATYER Thea
23 SMALL Danielle
24 TRISTRAM Jenna
25 WALSH Sarah
26 WILLIAMS Lydia
27 WIRKUS Emma


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5,000 Scottish fans worship Skippy!

The dear old Scots still use the word Skippy for their little, but valued Australian.

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Is this what you think?

Canberra A-League, hmmn I'd like to see it but...
But I just don't know if it could work.
It's been tried before.
There is no money in Canberra to support a team.
There is no political or business will in this town.
The Brumbies and Raiders struggle the crowds are fickle.
Canberrans don't support sport.

If you're from Canberra or surrounding regions reading this, I assume you're a football fan.

How many of the above statements come into your head when you think about an A-League side in Canberra?

If you are from further afield, same question applies.

I shall return.

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Canberra FC season warming up.

Canberra boys Ivan Pavlak and Steven Lustica are currently trialling in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb. Good luck to them, but surely another reason why Canberra needs an A-League side and a Reserve/Youth side.

How many Canberrans are now trialling playing professional football overseas, in VPL or NSWPL? Enough to form the nucleus of a team.

And Canberra FC were beaten 5-0 by Melbourne Knights down in Albury recently. Canberra FC have a new coach, Ivan Grucic has taken over from last years winning coach Nado Spaleto. Nado has moved to Technical Director for health reasons.

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Wednesday, 13 February 2008

No place for English in Australia

FRank Lowy and Ben Buckley have clearly stated the English will not be coming to play a Premier League game in Australia.

Well, I'm delighted. Derby v Sunderland didn't work for me anyway.

Full statement below.

NO GROUNDS FOR EPL IN AUSTRALIA

FFA SAYS NO

Football Federation Australia (FFA) today said that it did not support a move by the English Premier League (EPL) to play a round in Australia.

“We said when this issue first arose last week that FFA’s overwhelming priority is to promote the Hyundai A-League and to continue to invest in, and grow, the game in Australia,” FFA Chairman, Frank Lowy, said.

“That remains our view.”

The EPL announced on Thursday that it was developing a proposal to play one round of their competition in cities around the world, with Melbourne and Sydney mooted as possible contenders.

“The bottom line is, FFA rejects the notion of another country playing a round of their domestic competition in Australia and intruding on the development of the Hyundai A-League and the game in Australia,” Mr Lowy said.

FFA CEO, Ben Buckley, added that this does not rule out exhibition games involving a Hyundai A-League club with international club sides in the future.

“However, our overriding objective is to build equity in the Hyundai A-League and everything we do is assessed against that objective,” Mr Buckley said.

The EPL would require the agreement of FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and FFA to stage a match in Australia.

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A special day in Australia.


On this historic and symbolic day in Australia I was thinking about all our Indigenous players.

Travis Dodd, David Williams, Lydia Williams, Jade North, Harry Williams and Kasey Wehrman are some who have represented Australia.

I hope there are many more Indigenous Australian footballers at all levels in the future.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Podcast: Feb 12th show

Featuring: The Nutmegs
Arif talks Socceroos And A-League
Futsalroos with Danny Macor
Matildas Team Manager Jo Sanders: What a job

Part Two
Football journey with Danny Macor.

Techincal difficulties meant seond half of show cut out early. Apologies



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Have you started training yet?

Canberra FC lost a pre-season friendly 5-0 to Melbourne Knights in Albury recently, Belconnen United take on the ANU in a friendly at Canberra Uni on Saturday morning.

How's your team going? Managed to jog around the oval yet...with the ball:)

Train as you mean to play......so let's hope you're out their running your #5$^@# for the Coach....the Aussie way. Good luck

ps I'm retired:)

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Sydney FC George Perry says....

"The coverage (Juninho) got when he arrived was fantastic and he really brings people along as well,"
said Sydney FC Chairman George Perry.

Funny didn't see any extra fans at the SFS in the first ten home games this year. On the other hand maybe he thinks they would have only got 5,000 a week without him...or maybe he's just talking about Press Conferences.

Yeah that must be it, good work Juninho, sign him up. He pulls em in!

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Nearpost Radio tonight: We've got humour..honest!

Tonight on the Nearpost, tomorrow on the pod, we introduce humour to the show. Yes we are serious!

We have yet to come up with a name for our comic crew but Simon and Robbie and Buckle-up Ben will make their debuts.

Nearpost Radio Part One:
Futsalroo Danny Macor talks KL World 5's
Arif's big issue, A-League.
Michelle Bertrand cries for her Jets.
Humour turns up with Comic Team: Nearpost Humour...well we're gonna try..tonight it's Simon and Robbie.
And Matildas Team Manager Jo Sanders....on the best job in the world.

Part Two
Capital Football CEO Heather Reid joins us to get the new outdoor season rolling in Canberra.
Football journey: Belconnen United Danny Macor on who the best players in Canberra are.
More humour, no it really will be funny...to me: Buckle-up Ben tells us where the Grand Final will be.

Catch the podcast here tomorrow or tune in if you are in Canberra 6.30pm Tuesday 98.3FM and you can hear us on your local community station, and if not just tell them until they get football on air.

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Sunday, 10 February 2008

Mariners sail into the Grand Final 3-2 on aggregate

Sold-out crowd, passion galore, deep in old Rugby League country, football took another giant leap forward.

Central Coast Mariners 3 Newcastle Jets 0..after extra-time.


Crowd 19,000 sold out. And the place went off. Sleepy Gosford exploded with noise, crunching tackles and fierce rivalry. The F3 Derby had it all.

Goalscorers Adam Kwasnik, Sasho Petrovski(2)

Referee: Ben Williams. Had a difficult game to control but somehow managed to keep everyone including John Hutchison and Sasho Petrovski on the pitch when they tried their hardest to get a second yellow.

Winning Coach Lawrie McKinna lost two early to injuries. Alvin Ceccoli and Tom Pondlejak but somehow brought his team home.

Gary Van Egmond threw in Song Jin Hyung the young Korean for his first game. An F3 semi-final. It didn't work.

Newcastle Jets. Joel Griffiths scores most of the Jets goals and tonight he didn't and therefore they couldn't score. He looked a little off the pace. And the young Jets side seemed out-muscled out fought by the experienced Mariners.

Tarek Elrich had his poorest game of the season, giving away ball after ball. Kwasnik lead him a merry dance.

The Game Craig Foster would have hated it. SBS would have cried at it all. But a sold out crowd, passionate fans. A Grand Final place at stake. This game was tension filled, mistake ridden, but the Mariners had the greater desire to make it happen. And they did...just.

The Jets still only needed one, and Matt Thompson and Troy Hearfield went very close in extra-time.

Let's not criticise this one for once. It was a gripping, Australian sporting occasion. I loved it.

Can't wait for next week.

Best crowd sign: Football for dummies (in the colours of those books)...John Hutchison

ps What is happening in this country. This football thing is mad!

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And you thought Nicky Carle was good.

I was amazed, but then I watch the A-League.

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Saturday, 9 February 2008

Sydney's Peter Fitzsimons on his head


The things Peter Fitzsimons forgot to say in his Saturday column.

Peter Fitzsimons, author and former Wallaby loves to dig at his beloved Soccer. Team of the week, rarely sees Sydney FC, Socceroos or any round ball stuff.

And he stumbled on the gravy train to his Soccer World Cup, shame on you Pete, and it's being great to see him continue to wobble as football has roared past his beloved Union.

Anyway all good fun, Pete, so here's a few Peteism's from a one-eyed football fan....Eamonn Fitzsimons style:)

Politics:

Great to hear Kate Ellis Australia's new Sports Minister cutting previous Howard Government promised funding to the boutique sports like Union. Union training ground and League hall of fame got the flick. Football retained it's special Howard Government funding.

But wait there's more, what really got Eamonn Fitzsimons chuckling was the Sydney Morning Herald journo, mate of Pete's, Jacquline Mornay saying, The new Sports Minister didn't know the difference between Union and League. Thought they were the same sport! Fitzsimons score 8/10

Socceroos beat Qatar in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Great start to the Socceroos, meanwhile John O'Neill laments all week about how boring Super 14 Rugby is. That's right O'Neill is head of Union. Thing is he is only stating the obvious so how come that is news. Fitzsimons score. 7/10

And of course football the game "played on earth" continues to grow in Australia. 50,000 on Wednesday to watch the Socceroos, 36,000 on Friday to watch Queensland v Sydney FC, and Pete meanwhile can't wait to get to heaven to watch the game played up there, down there or wherever it is. Maybe the games isn't as boring for the dead.
Fitzsimons score 5/10


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Sydney FC fly out to play Beckham, can't be bad.

So Sydney FC get to play David Beckham's LA Galaxy again.

Sydney lost to the Roar last night and have "earned" the right to fly out on Wednesday to play Beck Beck, Houston Dynamos (US Champs) and Gamba Osaka (Japan Champs) in the inaugural Pan-Pacific tournament starting next weekend.

Sydney play Houston first and if they win meet the winners of Beck Beck FC and Gamba Osaka.

Another prestigious trip for Sydney FC. Another sign of the opportunities for the game. Go Sydney...the fourth best Australian side!

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Football: A week to celebrate.

Over 50,000 watched the Socceroos against the 100th placed team in the World Qatar on Wednesday in Melbourne the home of AFL.

On Friday 36,000 plus rocked Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to see the Roar put Sydney out of the A-League finals. And a great game it was.

How big can the game in Australia go?

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Roar Shielded through to Semi.

Queensland Roar defeated Sydney FC 2-0 in front of a record A-League crowd of 36,000 at Suncorp.

This game had everything. Goals, tension, dodgy decisions, delayed kick-off and a win for a home crowd, a huge home crowd.

Most influential on the pitch. Mark Shields. Missed a probable Sydney penalty, missed a clear push on Steve Corica and seconds later Robbie Middleby was sent-off for a last-man tackle, gave Taj Minniecon the easiest penalty of the season, and generally Shields left a feeling that he got the big decisions wrong.

The moment
Reinaldo, skipped away from Ufuk Talay, roared towards the Sydney goal, walked past the former Socceroo Mark Milligan who gets worse every week, and tucked in a beauty from an acute angle. Cue Orange fever in the stands.


Big question. What is wrong with Mark Milligan? Since Billy Celeski waltzed past him in Sydney a few weeks ago Milligan has become an ordinary, very ordinary defender. Let's hope his loss of form is temporary.

The crowd 50,000 on Wednesday in Melbourne to watch the Socceroos and then over 36,000 at Suncorp for a domestic game. Goose pimples for football in Australia. Something really strange is happening, continuing to happen here. The young faces in the crowd encourages me, and the number of Orange shirts show, no matter how fickle, a core of support, even bandwagon support is building in Queensland, and it's big and growing. Great stuff.

Sydney FC Paid the price for signing David Zdrillic on a three year contract. One of their major signings hasn't been seen for weeks and has meant Alex Brosque has to pretend to be a forward, a leader. He's not. Steve Corica was outstanding but with ten men it was always going to be tough.

Ruben Zadkovich, so much energy, and didn't Sydney need that, but time and time again he wasted his opportunities, carrying the ball too far, failing to find a team-mate, still at least he stayed on the pitch. But Ruben hasn't really improved this season, more's the pity.

John Kosmina had limited resources and Sydney played well with the ten. A spat between Kossie and Mark Milligan, Clint Bolton and Adam Biddle showed the tension.

Tony Popovic. Guess who let Sydney down. As he has done so many times this season, particularly early on. Was Mark Rudan worse than an ageing Poppa? Loyalty in football is long gone, and so is Sydney FC's big blue man. Poppa gave a penalty away last night, harsh maybe, but what has Poppa given to this team that Rudan didn't?

Sydney are off to Hawaii on Wednesday, but have a serious rebuilding programme. Get a forward line for starters.

The Roar
They won in front of 36,000. And they were good value for the win. Reinaldo's goal was a match winner. No Sydney player could do that..ever.

Robbie Kruse Played well enough, but for me lacked energy late on. A young driving winger failed to run at Sydney in the biggest game of the season with a huge crowd and space galore in front of him. Not happy Robbie.

The Roar got lucky, the rain eventually drained off the pitch, Mark Shield gave them more than they deserved, but they chased all over the park and once again their mobility caused Sydney massive problems.

Taj Minniecon Came on. The most influential substitute. Made his penalty with skill and aggressive running.

Free-kicks Marcinho, give them up mate. Never hits the target in any game I watch. Ufuk Talay much the same. Give em up lads.

Great game overall.

Final Point. The send-off of Robbie Middleby was fair enough. But I couldn't help feeling that once again my football match, my big match and anticipation was ruined. Sure I'm all for booking and even sending off any player who blocks and holds back skilful play, but disappointing unless you're from Queenland.

I wanted to see these two go head for head for the ninety with the full quota, and see how the tactical geniuses on the bench handled it.

Still a great night for football.

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Friday, 8 February 2008

EPL to Sydney...David Moyes says..

You can just hear it can't you. Everton v Blackburn in Sydney on a Saturday in January.

"There's is no way Tim Cahill is going all that way for a game of football, against sodding Blackburn. He's got a bad hammy, besides there is an International in London the following Wednesday and he really wants to play for Australia in that," spoken by a man impersonating David Moyes.

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EPL coming to Sydney.....Get lost!

England's 20 Premier League clubs are planning a radical change that would see each team playing an extra match a season in a foreign city.

Under the proposal, from the 2010-11 season in one weekend in January there would be an extra 'international round' with 10 matches played abroad in cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Johannesburg, Dubai and Beijing.


Oh dear. You can imagine Manchester United v Chelsea
drawing a huge crowd in any city listed above. But what about Bolton v Sunderland, or West Ham v Middlesboro, or Derby v Wigan the list goes on.

In Sydney I'm sure it would be Everton v Blackburn, Cahill v Emerton.

In the middle of our finals series. I say no.

I don't want to see Tim Cahil and his Everton mates come and play one game in the middle of the Australian A-League season.

I think it will assist to destroy the local leagues of Asia and Australia.

First they get all the players from Australia and the World purely because they have the most money. Now they want to stuff up the leagues that are actually breeding grounds for their "so-called" quality product.

I don't want to see Everton, West Ham, Middlesboro or any other English team with a token Aussie in the ranks.

Queensland Roar v Sydney FC. Who good would that game look if Manchester United were playing Everton in Sydney on the same weekend.

Altogether now. Sod off England!

Full report


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Roar and Newcastle to win?

Can the Roar win a big game at home. Apart from the opening day of Season 1, I can't think of a game when the Roar have won in front of a big expectant crowd.

And the Jets, surely they are home, surely. But if the Mariners score first, won't it be fun for the neutrals?

Previews

Queensland Roar v Sydney FC

The Roar need to score, probably twice with away goals counting double. Expect Sydney to defend, and suck the Roar in.

Sydney will miss Juninho and so will Alex Brosque. And the tie now is a tacticians dream. Balanced.

Ruben Zadkovich will come in, and his mobility will help negate the Roar's main weapon. Pace and youth in the front six.

How will Craig Moore back up from Socceroos duty? Brosque should test him often. Can Sydney FC hold out? Will the ref give early cards to anyone? Any Sydney player chopping the like of Robbie Kruse and Michael Zullo early, This should be crucial.

An early card could assist the Roar in their quest to go forward. Watch out Iain Fyfe, Brendan Renaud and Ruben Zadkovich, not to mention Steve Corica and Alex Brosque. Remember Brosques in last years Semi-Final. Sent-off!

I bet Terry Butcher remembers it.

The big crowd will expect the Roar to attack and Sydney's experienced players will use this to their advantage.

Last year Sydney held on in similar circumstances. If the Roar can break through early I expect the Roar to win. But the longer the game goes without the Roar scoring the more likely Sydney will march on to next week.

Prediction: Sydney to go through....but expect fireworks, the team that loses is gone and neither side, or Coach, will take this very well. Can't wait.

Key players:
Reinaldo and Alex Brosque

But for me the key to a Roar win in Robbie Kruse. He's been quiet over the last seven weeks or so, if he can find his form then the Roar will win.

Mariners v The Newcastle United Jets.

Did you know the Jets snuck the United name onto their badge? Rebels!

Anyway the first goal is crucial. Of course with Joel Griffiths playing the Jets would surely one at some point, meaning the Mariners would have to score four.

That can't happen.

But Griffiths is expected to be out. Injured from his Socceroos experience.

So it's nicely poised.

Mariners will attack, they have to.

But can they score. What a time for Matt Simon to get his first goal?

So this will be tense, exciting with only an early Jets goal destroying the occasion.

Key Players

For the Mariners. John Aloisi needs to score, he's sure to get the chance(s)

John Hutchison and Tom Pondlejak need to perform to their best to create opportunities for the Mariners.

The Jets need to remain tight, keep the ball, survive the first twenty minutes and they should be okay.

Can they score without Joel Griffiths, possibly not. But they may not need to if their defence holds firm.

Very nicely poised. Enjoy the drama

Predictions: Jets to got through

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Thursday, 7 February 2008

All behind the Roar for the Semi's


Juninho's out, a huge crowd expected at Suncorp stadium for the Roar v Sydney FC in the first semi.

Everyone is supporting The Roar, the Swimmers, the Rugby League, The Union boys, the whole community, just as it should be.

I look forward to the day when the Canberra community are united behind a Canberra finals appearance. See more photo's below.




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Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Aussie Pim to sing if we qualify.

Aussie Pim confirmed to Simon Hill on Fox Sports tonight that he would sing the Australia National Anthem live on Fox Sports if we qualify for the World Cup.

Bring it on baby!

More importantly...the next game against China is not a FIFA date, and we all know what that means.

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World Cup Final 1997 Australia v Brazil

Australia's only team to make a World Cup Final was the Under 17 side who lost to Brazil on penalties.

You don't get to a World Cup Final in football unless you have something very special.

Two of the strikers in that tournament? Scott McDonald and Josh Kennedy are now coming of age.

Team to play Brazil in 1997 lost 9-8 on penalties.

Jess Kedwell-van Stratten, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Iain Fyfe 93), Aaron Goulding, Adrian Madaschi, Mark Byrnes, Jade North, Louis Brain, Lucas Pantelis (Joe Di Iorio 55), Scott McDonald (Joshua Kennedy 99), Wayne Srhoj, Dylan Macallister

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We're gonna win the cup..the World Cup!

Australia 3 Qatar 0

It was tense for about a minute of so and then Australia won. You can read match reports, tactical analysis etc in all the papers and webs...so here's mine.

Aussie fans You see they turned out in huge numbers, sang their hearts out, and didn't boo the anthem of Qatar. Criticised for booing the Uruguay anthem that great night, Uruguay deserved it and the fans socked it to them. Fair play Australia.



Qatari fansMore Qatari fans in the stadium than people in Qatar. It's a small country right!

Worst ad/sponsorNike ran an ad, "It's war out there"..."Weapons of match destruction" Funny, intelligent? In a world full of war, I don't need it not at my sporting events.

Best goal Josh Kennedy, great header from distance. Worryingly the big fellow got injured...again?

Best celebration Marco Bresciano, can't wait to see the little kids down the oval doing the Spartacus celebration.

Best Coach Celebration Henk Duut being very un-Dutch. Nearly knocked Graham Arnold as he leapt to cheer a goal, an Aussie goal. Welcome aboard Aussie Duut.

Best Canberra moment Carl Valeri taking to the pitch...and playing a couple of wonderful passes in forward positions.

Worst A-League moment John Aloisi missing a sitter, or Craig Moore throttling an opposing player.

Hope for the future The new strike force, McDonald and Kennedy. We need this to get us to the World Cup after Mark Viduka has shown signs of quitting/age.

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